Exciting Possibilities for Certified Nursing Assistants In and Around Seattle
Certified nursing assistants, also known as certified nursing aides or CNAs, have one of the most important roles in the healthcare system for a simple reason: CNAs provide direct, everyday care to people with chronic disabilities and other medical needs.
In a hospital or long-term care setting, CNAs are the staff who record vital signs, dispense medication, and help patients with personal hygiene. Patients spend more time with CNAs than with RNs, various kinds of therapists, and doctors. CNAs work in hospitals, nursing homes, and rehabilitation clinics, or do their work in home health care or transportation settings.
CNAs in Washington State have excellent employment opportunities. Demand for certified nursing assistants is growing at an annual rate of about 8 percent. There are about 1.4 million CNA jobs in the USA right now, but there will be 1.6 million CNA positions in 2030, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Glassdoor says that the average annual salary of a CNA in Seattle as of February 2022 is $36,371, but the top 10 percent of certified nursing aides in western Washington, typically those with five or more years of experience, earn more than $43,450 per year. People who combine a CNA with another needed professional credential, like a commercial driving license, have exceptional job prospects.
Why Would a CNA benefit from Having a Commercial Driver’s License?
CNAs who are licensed to drive small buses, like those used to transport patients from their homes and care centers to medical appointments, have job opportunities that other CNAs do not.
Many people who have disabilities get around with the help of their spouses, children, or friends. The problem is that friends aren’t always available, children often have their own children to take care of, and spouses may develop disabilities of their own. Getting someone who needs transportation to the door can be a challenge, and then it can be hard to transfer them safely into a car. Uber and Lyft expect their passengers to get themselves to and from the curb.
Wheelchairs and four-door sedans are not compatible. Wheelchair-ready vans are expensive. And what do you do when someone needs transportation but is confined to a gurney, or needs constant bedside care?
Around the Sound specializes in meeting the transportation needs of people who can’t use cars. Around the Sound uses drivers who have CNA skills to help customers who otherwise would be housebound to and from medical appointments, hospitals, immunization clinics, and pharmacies, and also to and from reunions, birthday parties, weddings, and the airport.
CNAs who have CDLs (commercial driver’s licenses) don’t get stuck in a routine. There is somewhere new to go and something new to do every day. CNAs who do commercial transportation have a mix of rewarding and challenging patients, but they don’t have to deal with any single patient constantly.
How Hard Is It to Get a Commercial Driver’s License in Washington State?
It’s not especially difficult to get a commercial driver’s license in Washington State, but commercial drivers in Washington have requirements that other drivers do not:
- You have to have a clean safety record. Any kind of documented negligence that causes serious harm or death to others is permanently disqualifying.
- You have to have diabetes under control. Blood sugar levels over 200 are disqualifying. You have to keep your blood pressure under 160/100.
- You have to pass a written exam and a driving test, but your driving test includes a pre-check, showing that you know how to make sure your vehicle is road-ready every time you drive. You have to be able to explain to the examiner what you are checking and why. Then your driving test includes a test of your ability to back up to the left or right and to back up to a loading dock.
You may need to meet additional requirements to qualify to drive interstate, to and from Washington and other states, rather than just intrastate, within the State of Washington. It is not unusual for future commercial drivers to go to a driving school to make sure they can pass all their tests and to get any help they need to get through the licensing process.
Consider Driving Part-Time
Around the Sound is hiring drivers for full-time and part-time work. We have shifts available days, evenings, and nights. We offer $16 an hour for driving time and $14 an hour for waiting time for employees who just have CDLs, but we have incentive pay of $25 an hour for transporting COVID patients and other assignments requiring CNA expertise. Overtime work may be necessary.
Around the Sound offers sick leave, vacation pay, and health insurance with vision and dental.
We hire drivers who have at least three years of commercial driving experience. If you are a CNA with a CDL who does not yet have three years of commercial driving experience, ask us how you can get the experience you need. All of our drivers need the ability to use GPS, update a pad computer, and take notes as required. All of our drivers have the ability to transport wheelchair clients over curbs and up inclines and can assist in moving clients on gurneys.
Drivers need the ability to sit for extended periods, and also the ability to walk, push, pool, stoop, bend, and lift 50 pounds. Drivers must have both good knowledge of local routes and the ability to access mapping tools on their smartphones.
We look for drivers who are unflappable and unfailingly polite. We look for drivers who can follow the rules required for safety and efficient operation while being patient with customers experiencing pain.
Are you ready to work for Around the Sound? Then fill out an application online today! If you have additional questions, you can call us at (253) 858-7088, or use the chat function on the application page. Around the Sound is an Equal Opportunity Employer.
This post was written by Steve Hutchins